Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God

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Ryan Wong 8/21/12 APLAC “All literature is protest.”-Richard Wright. Through this quote Richard is saying that all writing usually conveys a purpose, to persuade, to explain or even to call people to action. In a fictitious novel the purpose is most likely conveyed as a constant moral, or thesis throughout the story. In a review he wrote for the New Masses magazine called “Between laughter and tears”, Wright criticizes Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God. Richard claims that there is no central idea or theme to Hurston’s book, thereby giving it no persuasive, explanatory or call to action-like traits. I agree with Richard Wright because throughout the whole book I could not find any significant theme or moral, nor…show more content…
So that when he does, he can understand the book better. That is one of the things that Their Eyes were Watching God lacked, making it a good story, but not a great book. One instance proven by Wright is when he says, “Turpin’s faults as a writer are those of an honest man trying desperately to say something; but Zora Neale Hurston lacks even that excuse. The sensory sweep of her novel carries no theme, no message, no thought”( ¶ #5). When he says there is “no thought” he means that there is nothing in the book that makes the reader think. To make a reader think, a book would have alternative meanings and hidden themes, none of which this book has. What you read is what you get with this book and there is nothing concealed behind Janie’s straight-forward story. Another instance is when Richard Wright points out the target audience of Hurston’s book and says, “In the main, her novel is not addressed to the Negro, but to a white audience whose chauvinistic tastes she knows how to satisfy. She exploits that phase of Negro life which is “quaint,” the phase which evokes a piteous smile on the lips of the “superior” race”( ¶ #5). Hurston’s aim is to make a story that people can laugh about and not have to think deeply to understand. But in doing that she takes away from a lot of the reading experience. When I read a book I…show more content…
Richard Wright’s criticism is right in the ballpark and I completely agree with it. In this book there was no central theme or idea, not one considerable humanistic thought or implication. This book did contain some good situations to learn from but nothing that persuades or changes the reader’s view, let alone life. A good fictional book has all of these qualities and more, something to make the reader doubt what they knew before, to make them question human thought and behavior and to make them learn or believe in a cause pointed out in that book. This is a fun dramatic story that lets the audience laugh and cry with Janie and her friends, but fails to deliver in the way of explaining the characters actions through the analysis of human nature. To decide what side you agree with you have to get the book and read it for yourself, I’m sure afterwards you will feel exactly as I

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